Michelle’s Jazz & Comedy Entertainment, LLC is bringing its much anticipated Jazz Showcase to town on Saturday, June 18 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. at the Metropolitan Room in downtown Fayetteville.
“When I moved here two years ago, there was no jazz at all,” said Michelle Ingram, promoter and owner of Michelle’s Jazz & Comedy Entertainment, LLC. “I’ve been doing this for a while in California, Florida and Denver, and basically I decided that I would start bringing jazz here to see how it goes along with the city.”
Ingram added that this is the first show in a series consisting of two comedy shows, a Latin Jazz Explosion and a Jazzy Christmas special.
The showcase features Grammy Award winner Norman Connors and the Starship Orchestra, Theo Valentin, Mike Eley, Pete Everett and the Total Package Band, Sam Rucker, Willie Bradley and Kwabena Dinizulu.
“Norman Connors does his shows and he sings the songs that he wrote and produced for artists,” said Ingram. “He discovered Phyllis Hyman so Theo Valentin will sing most of the songs that Connors wrote for her.”
Ingram added that they will play all kinds of Jazz as well as instrumental music and it will be a cool show.
“I have classic hits that we always play which are ‘Betcha By Golly Wow’, ‘Valentine Love’, ‘This Is Your Life and You Are My Starship’,”said Connors, drummer, composer and producer. “I have 30 albums and I am celebrating my 43rd year as a recording artist.” Connors added that the audience should expect some dynamic singing from his vocalist Theo Valentin and dynamic playing from his band, The Starship Orchestra.
Connors has been playing music since the tender age of 3. He met Miles Davis at the age of 13. Davis treated Norman like a son. “I met all these great people before I even started recording,” said Connors. “Miles Davis is my mentor, and I used to go to his house every day.”
Connors added that he had a great education from a classical standpoint at Juilliard School of Music, the streets and from knowing some of the greatest musicians in the world that took a liking to him.
Connors has discovered and produced Jean Carne, Angela Bofill, Phyllis Hyman, Norman Brown, Glenn Jones and many others. He is currently working on an album with 16 discs, which is his 40-plus year anniversary CD. “I have been working on this album for four years and we will finish it July 18,” said Connors. “Hopefully, the album will come out in September.”
Tickets are $60 in advance and $65 at the door, which includes complimentary appetizers and one drink. The Metropolitan Room is located at 109 Green Street. For more information, call 302-8809.